Dublin startups tell their stories, powered by DCU Ryan Academy.
Tell us about your product.
We design, build, sell, implement and support an electronic record tool for dental hospitals, called Salud. It records and manages all activities of treatment, training, and research enterprises. It also acts as a platform for big data analytics and predictive healthcare.
What inspired you to start the company?
Everything began with a problem believed to be insurmountable: replacing paper records with electronic ones in dentistry. It had been a matter of change management users were scared of technology, they suspected a “Big Brother” element, and were slightly embarrassed about their typing skills. I believed we could solve that and create a brand that would market through networking.
What market are you targeting and how big is it?
Initially, it is the oral health market, but we plan to transfer over to other niche medical disciplines using the same product and the same referenceable brand. There is no geographic restriction, and all areas of the planet are in need of the solution. Currently, the enterprise version is in use in 11 countries across five continents. The market value is worth billions, and the US multinationals who carry some competitive software see such turnover.
Whats your business model?
Income generation from capex and IaaS sales models with an emphasis on annualised income growth.
What was the funding process like?
We were entirely self-funded until we established our US client site and then we obtained VC funding to bring us to the next stage. We evolved subsequently into a self-funding entity again and found that part of the journey significantly more successful. As we scale up into the mass markets, we are considering some options including further funding and international partnerships.
What are the biggest challenges your business faces today?
The route to market knowledge of the healthcare areas we are evolving into; adequacy of working capital funding; recruiting correctly for areas in which we have limited experience; knowledge of cultural behaviour patterns in the different continents and countries; balance sheet competition when facing US multinational competition.
What milestones do you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We are currently moving into the corporate dental chain market, as well as the public oral health one. We plan to release the product for that in September 2016. We will then either finalise the partnerships with international infrastructure or fundraise and create our own.
What advice can you offer companies in Dublin who are just starting out?
Be naïve. If you think about the mountains ahead, you will never do it. Keep talking to each other. Knock on doors and remember most people are kind and will be helpful, especially when they know youre Irish.
Tell us one (or more) things you love about Dublin as a startup community and as a city?
Its not commercially conservative. People look to you as creative as opposed to deluded. The more far-reaching your idea, the more intrigued they are. Its probably like Palo Alto without the money. It has everything to keep you going through the rough times, except the high-speed investment community that you might get in larger countries. But if you are a low investment startup, there is a lot of help available. As a city, its close to most key markets, and its easy to network because it has a consistent social culture where people go out to engage and are very friendly.